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      08-30-2014, 01:32 PM   #1
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2014 X5 50i Oil Consumption

Picked up X5 in May and roughly 2500k miles on it. Message came on stating it needs 2 quarts of oil.

Dealer topped it for free with no wail at all. No complaints there. Tech said nothing too unusual but to keep an eye on it. Something about the sensor being very sensitive but it did take 2 full quarts. Whatever that means.

Anything unusual about needing oil already or this is normal for the v8 engines?
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      08-31-2014, 03:03 AM   #2
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It's normal. I actually had mine pop up about 20 minutes away from the dealer after picking my truck up today. 3000 miles. Traffic in the opposite direction kept me from turning around.

My 550 was just as bad.
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      08-31-2014, 08:48 PM   #3
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For well made, high-performance engines, the rule of thumb is 1 qt used every 900 - 1200 miles. Short distance drives will use more as the engine has to heat cycle more up to tolerances. My 550i used about a qt every 5000 miles but mostly highway miles. Porsche will tell you 1 qt every 1200 miles - older models were more.
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      08-31-2014, 11:07 PM   #4
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I had a 2009 750i, a 2011 750Li, and a 2013 M6 - they all needed a quart every 5,000 miles. But this made me realize my 2014 X5 50i M Sport made it to the 10,000 service without a quart?!? Now I'm worried!
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Last edited by BMWboy; 08-31-2014 at 11:10 PM. Reason: Typo
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      09-01-2014, 04:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWboy View Post
I had a 2009 750i, a 2011 750Li, and a 2013 M6 - they all needed a quart every 5,000 miles. But this made me realize my 2014 X5 50i M Sport made it to the 10,000 service without a quart?!? Now I'm worried!
I'm at 9100 miles and mine hasn't needed any oil, it is asking for an oil change now so I'm taking it in tomorrow.
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      09-02-2014, 08:29 PM   #6
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Oil Consumption is normal in 50i V8. My experience is 1 quart added every 10-12K miles. Several dealers confirmed this. Never cost me anything.
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      09-03-2014, 02:18 AM   #7
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BMWs do tend to use much oil to be honest. Rather interesting that I haven't changed my F15's oil yet but on my old E71 I used to change it quite frequently. At times even once a month.
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      09-03-2014, 11:16 AM   #8
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I need to understand oil consumption. My understanding is gaskets and seals and piston rings keep oil out of the pistons. Any oil missing must have seeped in and burned off (pollution, possible damage to emission system, catalytic converters, etc.), or leaked from a gasket.

After 35 years of driving BMW, Benz, Lexus, Volvo, Merkur (yes I had a Scorpio once, and no teasing allowed), Hyundai (first generation Excel, no jokes allowed) and even new red Scirocco (any jokes here and I will show up to your front door), the only times I had oil consumption was related to leaks. I still have a Lexus LX 470 with circa 200k miles and it has never required a top-up of oil. My current CLK500 and the R500 also lose nothing in their 10k service intervals. I had a 190e about 25 years ago that would lose about a quart every 3000 miles or so, due to a leak. Others were repaired for gasket leaks and oil loss stopped.

I am baffled that oil use can be justified, but as I am not a mechanic, I will defer to a good explanation as to what happens to the mysterious disappearing oil.

Last edited by MattBianco; 09-03-2014 at 01:04 PM.
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      09-03-2014, 10:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattBianco View Post
I need to understand oil consumption. My understanding is gaskets and seals and piston rings keep oil out of the pistons. Any oil missing must have seeped in and burned off (pollution, possible damage to emission system, catalytic converters, etc.), or leaked from a gasket.

After 35 years of driving BMW, Benz, Lexus, Volvo, Merkur (yes I had a Scorpio once, and no teasing allowed), Hyundai (first generation Excel, no jokes allowed) and even new red Scirocco (any jokes here and I will show up to your front door), the only times I had oil consumption was related to leaks. I still have a Lexus LX 470 with circa 200k miles and it has never required a top-up of oil. My current CLK500 and the R500 also lose nothing in their 10k service intervals. I had a 190e about 25 years ago that would lose about a quart every 3000 miles or so, due to a leak. Others were repaired for gasket leaks and oil loss stopped.

I am baffled that oil use can be justified, but as I am not a mechanic, I will defer to a good explanation as to what happens to the mysterious disappearing oil.
Great question and allow me to answer it based on my 12 years of building and designing hot rod turbo Porsche motors (only).

Porsche, BMW, Merc and other high-end car mfg build their motors out of alloys such as magnesium, aluminum, steel and so on. Each of these alloys are used in different areas in the motor. For example, Porsche used forged aluminum pistons inside nikasil aluminum cylinders. Each of these alloys have unique properties that work great in their designed roles, and have different expansion rates. Therefore, the parts need to be designed to work properly at operating temperature and it could mean that, as the engine comes up to temp, it allows oil to seep past (like rings) into the combustion chamber to be burned.

Additionally, Porsche designed their motors to use the smallest amount of oil in their cylinders. The rate was 1200 miles per quart, but what this does is adds additional lubricant where metal to metal is most aggressive. This is why a properly maintained Porsche boxer motor will easily last over 200,000 miles without needing an overhaul and will have very low leak-down values (healthy rings) thereby keeping power relatively high in an older motor.

When building a Porsche motor compared to a domestic motor, it takes about 3x longer due to the attention to tolerances and dry fitting parts such as heads, pistons, valve clearance, deck heights, main and cam bearing clearance, rings, etc. A difference of .0040 in these motors could mean the difference between properly running versus putting a hole in the top of your piston. If you need pics, let me know

BMW and Merc do the same, but with newer technology oils (synthetics), the need for oil use is lower - but it's still there.

My 1979 525hp/500 lb ft torque turbo Porsche used about a qt every 900 miles and during track events, used a quart a day. For your info, a Formula 1 car will use a couple of quarts each race for the same reason - the use of lubrication in the form of light-weight oils takes less horsepower to run the motor and it ensures the engine will last multiple races. They use a dry sump system.

Until recently, most American cars used iron and steel throughout their engines, therefore providing nearly identical expansion rates. Therefore oil usage is low on domestic production engines. That has changed over the past years to aluminum heads, blocks, pistons and so on, so I would imagine oil usage is up on some models.

A properly built, high quality motor will use oil and it will be burned in the combustion chamber.
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      09-04-2014, 10:45 AM   #10
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What viscosity oil does it call for? I'll pick up a couple liters to keep in the vehicle. Should be here any day now.
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      09-04-2014, 01:31 PM   #11
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Thank you @42pilot for taking the time to explain at length. If I understand and have simplified this correctly, a small amount of oil burn (not loss/leak) is a byproduct of using better performing metal alloys for each specific component, which in aggregate produce more power/efficiency, but they expand and contract at different rates under temperatures due to the differences in their composition, and some oil enters the cylinders through the piston heads.

Until you correct me I deduce:
  • The oil burned produces slightly more emissions but still maintains their level low enough to comply with standards
  • The burned oil may actually help prolong the life of some components as it provides additional lubrications
  • The burned oil may reduce the life of some emission equipment (catalytic converter, for instance)
  • If one experiences this from the time the engine is young, it is indicative of the design byproduct. If one approaches this at over 50k miles / 80k km, then it is not due to design, but wear/tear/leaks/bad rings/other issues.
  • This is more likely to occur in high-performance engine that operate at higher pressures, with a high red line. And therefore, this should not occur in low pressure engines. And, diesels that have pressurized fuel/air mixtures but not have highly pressurized cylinders, have lower redlines, and rely on the fuel to deliver lubrication.
  • Keep a an extra liter/quart of the appropriate oil handy in the garage

Thank you again.
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      09-04-2014, 04:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattBianco View Post
Thank you @42pilot for taking the time to explain at length. If I understand and have simplified this correctly, a small amount of oil burn (not loss/leak) is a byproduct of using better performing metal alloys for each specific component, which in aggregate produce more power/efficiency, but they expand and contract at different rates under temperatures due to the differences in their composition, and some oil enters the cylinders through the piston heads.

Until you correct me I deduce:
  • The oil burned produces slightly more emissions but still maintains their level low enough to comply with standards
  • The burned oil may actually help prolong the life of some components as it provides additional lubrications
  • The burned oil may reduce the life of some emission equipment (catalytic converter, for instance)
  • If one experiences this from the time the engine is young, it is indicative of the design byproduct. If one approaches this at over 50k miles / 80k km, then it is not due to design, but wear/tear/leaks/bad rings/other issues.
  • This is more likely to occur in high-performance engine that operate at higher pressures, with a high red line. And therefore, this should not occur in low pressure engines. And, diesels that have pressurized fuel/air mixtures but not have highly pressurized cylinders, have lower redlines, and rely on the fuel to deliver lubrication.
  • Keep a an extra liter/quart of the appropriate oil handy in the garage

Thank you again.
The oil on the cylinder walls should not be scraped off completely by the rings, thereby seeping into the combustion chamber. The amount is very small and designed this way and where the majority of oil usage stems. You want the thinnest film of oil between piston rings and cylinders to extend the life of the motor.

Burned oil is useless. Oil in its liquid state not only lubricates, it also cools and cleans. I would bet each of our motors has piston squirters - that is, jets that spray oil on the under-side of our pistons thereby keeping them cool after the combustion stroke.

Normal oil usage in our cars will not shorten the life of emissions equipment, including O2 sensors and cats. Catalytic converters really don't start working until high temps - like 900 degrees. This will burn normal oil usage residue out of the honeycomb cat interior. The problem will occur when you have excessive oil usage - then you will have component failure.

Oil usage should be consistent through the life of the motor. A good BMW motor, properly maintained, should last +200,000 miles (this is mechanical parts, not electrical like sensors, injectors, starter, etc). When they wear out, oil usage will increase noticeably and you should perform a compression test or leak-down test on each cylinder.

Consistent high RPM will wear a motor out faster, but regardless of displacement of the motor, wear should be consistent under normal driving. A diesel motor operates under much higher compression ratios than gassers (pressure as you state). I think my 30d is 18:1 ratio where the gas version is probably 10:1 or 12:1. A diesel motor requires high pressure to ignite the air/fuel mixture since it does not use spark plugs. Since diesels provide much more torque than a gas motor, there is no need for higher rpm's to move the car down the street.

In my opinion, it is much more important to change the oil in a diesel more often than a gas motor. Diesels produce soot and have sulfur in the fuel. If you add sulfur and water (humidity), you get a mild acid. Additionally, soot is a carbon by-product and is abrasive - very fine, but still abrasive. I change the oil in my truck tractor and car every 5 - 7,000 miles (tractor every 100 hours). I WILL NOT extend the oil change per BMW's guidelines, but then again, I bought my 30d and did not lease it.

Fuel is not a lubricant. In fact, its one of the worst things you can put in your engine since it dissolves (or what is known as washing cylinders) oil from surfaces so you have metal to metal contact. This is a potential problem I had with the RaceChip. You can't just dump more fuel in a cylinder and expect more power without trade-offs. Any un-burned fuel will wash the oil off the cylinder walls and create higher heat, and accelerated wear. The fuel can even seep past the piston rings into the oil, and you will dilute the oil's lubrication properties and f-up your entire motor. That's an extreme case, but it happens.

Lastly, use the lightest weight oil BMW recommends. Heavy weight (high viscosity) oil robs power, does not increase lubrication and puts strain on the motor when first started from dead cold. I like 0w30 synthetic because it is like water when the motor starts (ensuring lubrication throughout the motor very quickly). This oil also creates a perfect thin film of oil between all rotating or reciprocating metal parts for the best lubrication versus power loss. Again, NASCAR and Formula 1 use a straight 5w or 0w oil for races. We need a little weight (the 30 in the 0w30) to our oil when we are at idle and need pressure and a consistent film of oil that 0W struggles to produce.
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